Shine the Divine:

Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice

When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Compassionate Discernment









free to find the edge

where safety and too much meet

compassion begins






I looked out the window this morning and saw freedom; a new shiny black chain-link fence we had built to keep coyotes out while our dog is held in the backyard, safe to explore and play within these protective boundaries. One doesn’t typically associate the words fence and freedom. I know I don’t; not usually, yet my heart feels freer knowing she can’t run off into the alluring woods, she loves, and I love so very much. Any good parent knows the wisdom of safe boundaries, that they actually foster creativity and exploration by limiting too much stimulation and of course provide protection for our children and pets as well.

And what about us as adults? What are the safety measures we provide for ourselves so that we can flourish without overwhelm? How do we protect ourselves from doing too much while accomplishing what is necessary and still allowing time for play and rest?

I feel more and more that compassionate discernment, “finding our edge and then drawing back” as my yoga teachers wisely taught me is that chain-link fence guiding us to know when enough is enough. When we listen to our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirits, the boundaries that offer us freedom become clearer. 

Right now it seems I have taken on a great deal, more than I can manage with the energy that I do have. I've gone from a life of many commitments, to one of few (because illness became my chain-link fence), to feeling better most days but still living with very real physical limitations. I love all that I am able to do, to be, to offer, to experience, and yet I am aware too that compassionate discernment means making choices about what I can do, want to do, is reasonable to do, is kind to myself and to everyone else too. And so, if you have noticed that I am not visiting many blogs lately, it is not a matter of not caring about YOU, it is because I have to make choices. I don't have the time or energy to spend online as much as I used to. This is a good thing, really, still it leaves me with some feelings of sorrow, knowing I am missing much beauty and wisdom from all of you.

I'll pop in now and again, for now, mostly I need to focus on studying, teaching, writing and being present to my family. My eldest will be graduating High School soon and there are many little things to sort out in this shift from here and now toward college in the fall. People have been asking, "Where will she be going?"...She was accepted into her first choice Franklin Pierce University, with an excellent scholarship. We are so proud. Prom is next weekend and if feels like time is whizzing by. 

I'll still be posting, of course, it is part of my healing practice, and I pray that what you find here offers some nourishment and healing for you too.

gentle steps,
Laura


This evening we will count Day 23 of the Omer: Gevurah she b'Netzach, Strength within Endurance.


Rabbi Yael shares this very brief passage from psalm 23:5


"My cup overflows."


I feel completely in alignment with this and the teaching that follows in her book Journey through the Wilderness: A Mindfulness Approach to the Ancient Jewish Practice of Counting the Omer. Here is a link to the rest of her teaching you can read online.


Thank you Rav Yael for being a wonderful guide through this wilderness.


studio waterstone


MAGICAL MONDAY BLOG HOP

visit The Imaginary Garden



and then, she {snapped}

62 comments:

  1. What an amazing post. Your writing touched me and made me think - thank you. I think there's 'freedom' in stepping away from the computer - no matter the reason. You're so wise to savor the time w/your child while she's still at home and going through those last stages before 'leaving the nest'. And I love what your yoga teacher taught you - thanks again for sharing!

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  2. I LOVE the equation of fence and freedom. Poignantly perfect.

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  3. Exquisite!

    Shadow from the Beach, have a blessed Sunday and thanks for your contribution to SSS2!

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  4. What a great post. The photos are amazing and the words you wrote are so full of meaning and insight. Yes, often in life we have boundaries and many times having them allows us to move within them with total freedom. Boundaries doesn't always mean confinement.

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  5. What a glorious post this is - SPECTACULARLY beautiful photos. What an eye you have, Laura! I love the idea of compassionate discernment. We all could benefit from some of that:) blogging does take time and energy. Never worry about visiting. We shall come to you! Rest easy.

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  6. Who would've thought a chain link fence could be such a good photo subject?
    This is a wonderful post. It really makes one think about the boundaries we put up around ourselves and their purposes.

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  7. Beautiful photographs and thought provoking words...

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  8. Love your perspective with your photos as well as with your thoughts, Laura. I have been wondering how you have been feeling and it's wise to do what you must and focus on the important.

    Thank you so much for sharing at YSB this week. xoxo

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  9. The overflowing cup is everywhere...we just need to bring it to our lips and drink our fill...as did you through your photographs...

    ”Honey for My Soul,” a shadow shot

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  10. Life fences are gifts from God to help us focus on what is most important... Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot. :-)

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  11. Beautiful and inspiring my dear friend! xo

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  12. Who knew there could be so much beauty in and around a simple chain link fence!

    Congratulations on your oldest's graduation! Enjoy these next few weeks!

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  13. Beautiful words and amazing photographs. Wishing you a beautiful week!

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  14. Beautiful words and photography. Wishing you a beautiful week ahead!

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  15. your words resonate...fenced in freedom. i imagine that is how you feel. your words are a blessing to many laura. thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos.

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  16. A wonderful and thought-provoking post Laura, and your images are truly beautiful.
    I surely understand your need to do what you need to do, and I admire you for doing so. It is not an easy choice sometimes.

    I look forward to seeing you when you are here.

    Have a wonderful beginning to your week!

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  17. nice...love the lines of the fence and that vine as well...with bud...nice verse to accompany as well...do what is best for you...and let the rest work itself out you now...smiles...happy sunday...

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  18. I've been doing less on-line myself, too. It's a subtle succubus that consumes one's time and energy, if care isn't taken. I'm honoured and blessed by your visit today.

    Much love,
    Carolynn

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  19. Wonderful post and so glad your dog is free and protected ~ 'Freedom is never Free ~ Sending you lots of healing hugs and congrats to your daughter and your family ~ and awesome photography ~ ^_^

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  20. Beautiful post. Your pictures are amazing.

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  21. There are no man made fences and boundaries that can stop them.

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  22. Deliciously beautiful this perspective, I love the delicacy of these photos, very good B & W.

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  23. Beautiful close-up!!
    I like the quote: "finding our edge and then drawing back" It sounds like a very interesting lesson to learn, I'll keep that one in mind, thank you :)

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  24. We all have our chain link fences... no need to worry, just take care of yourself.

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  25. These three lines are packed with wisdom. Something to take with me through this day. Thank you for supporting Real Toads by sharing your work with us.

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  26. Wow! I love the black and white pictures, they work so well.

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  27. Hi Laura
    I hope this Monday morning finds you energetic and well. The black and white images of the chain link fence are away from the norm for you and I love it. I love too your words of wisdom. Every visit with you is uplifting - the perfect way to begin my day and my week. Be well, be light, just be.
    happy week to you Laura.

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  28. This is a wonderful shot. A lovely light inside...
    Kind regards, Synnöve

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  29. Hi Laura,
    I find myself at the edge as well. It's difficult to draw back, but some days it has to be done. You are totally corect, there is freedom in that. Have a good week.
    Cheers

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  30. Gorgeous photos, wise words. Sending love, xoxo

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  31. I love that first image! I don't think I have ever looked at a fence that way before!

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  32. what LOVELY black and whites! And I think my favorite is the last one with the little bit of sun flare! Gorgeous. I hope you'll link your photos for today up with my Photo Show Off!

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  33. Zdrowie , dom i rodzina są ważniejsze od internetu. Trzeba od niego odpocząć na jakiś czas, bo to zaczyna być męczące. Rozumiem. Pozdrawiam serdecznie.
    Health, home and family are more important than the Internet. Need him to rest for a while, because it begins to be tiresome. I understand. Best regards.

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  34. The images are outstanding, but it's the post that contains the meaning. I feel what you're saying in there. and I agree completely at the end point, how writing does play a role in the healing process, it does for me as well. Great post. Thanks

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  35. Awesome! Love the lighting in that last one.

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  36. YOU feed us, and I come away nourished each time. You are wise and I am glad you will continue to post here. Beautiful poem!

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  37. your photos are fabulous.....thanx

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  38. Great pictures - amazing how many lovely pictures you can get from a simple fence.
    Thanks for your visit and comment on my post. :))

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  39. I like the last two shots!!! Thanks for stopping by MammothLakesDP!!!

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  40. Very creative shots of the fence, Laura.

    Happy Macro Monday

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  41. What a great and thoughtful post this is!! Really enjoyed your photos too!

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  42. dear laura, our physical body most times acts the way fences do. it hems in that inner spiritual person that is our True Self. and yet, we have to abide to this inner Person that always seek freedom towards expressing what it truly is -- an entity Divine. you are a great example .. thanks always for sharing

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  43. Beautiful photos, poem, and thoughts from a beautiful soul!

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  44. I needed this and quoted you in a post I wrote..this was perfect..thank you...Michelle

    I feel more and more that compassionate discernment, “finding our edge and then drawing back” as my yoga teachers wisely taught me is that chain-link fence guiding us to know when enough is enough. When we listen to our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirits, the boundaries that offer us freedom become cleare

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  45. Dear Laura, I am still learning at over 3 score and 10. With everything flourishing in my area - I stay outside in the garden from sunup until sundown.
    So weary at the end of the day. My son tells me to pace myself - maybe it will rain tomorrow :)
    You write so beautifully
    and I pray healing for you.
    Oh graduation and prom time - the memories :)

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  46. Beautiful and soothing words and pictures ~

    Cheers ~

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  47. I'm so glad you visited my blog so I found this post... just the message I needed to hear as I myself have been feeling I've hit my protective fence - I just didn't have a word or image for it until I read this. Love the term "compassionate discernment". Thank you!

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  48. Beautiful as always. Don't you worry about making your blog visits. You do what you need to do for yourself and your family. The blogging world will surely wait until you are able to stop by. Until then, we'll keep on enjoying your beauty through your words and photos.

    Congrats to your daughter. You must be fiercely proud of her. :)

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  49. It is always inspiring to read you (and thanks so much for the visit). Great photos...who knew a fence could look so intriguing!

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  50. Your posts are so nourishing.

    I wish you the energy to focus on what is important to you... Be well.

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  51. I think it;s comforting to know the boundaries.

    Congratulations to your daughter!

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  52. I love your posts but just do them when you feel like it...lately I have not had the strength to be online either. How do you get gorgeous pics of a fence? Beautiful

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  53. your writings are always full of nourishment and healing dear lady, and wisdoms, and it's a pleasure and treasure to read what you share. boundaries seems to be one of my lifelong struggles..it comes and goes to varying degrees with differing events and situations. but it does also come with it's blessings and always seems to be what i need to help teach me how to find balance..and that it's a continual motion.. and in saying that, maybe there's the lesson i need.. to realise it's not a struggle but a part of our continual growth. much love and hugs to you......

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  54. Those black and whites are glorious....and what a really feel good post, made my evening. Great work.

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  55. This is a beautiful post with amazing photos. Your words give us a lot to think about. I wish your daughter the best as she heads off to college, and send you good thoughts as you go forward. Take care of yourself.

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  56. A chance to visit you again..(picture big smile on my face)...I didn't know which post to read and the words Compassionate Discernment jumped out at me...for good reason..words I needed to hear tonight. I thought I would be back to writing and being a part of the blog world by now and it saddens me...I miss "this" so much...yet, in learning to listen to my body and what I am capable of doing in this season of my life and in being present for my little's and my husband, I am where I am suppose to be I suppose. I am really focusing on getting as healthy as I can and continuing to learn how to live with pain...just when I think I might be almost "there", something new arises or I hit a road block. I am finding, the more I listen to myself, the better it does get. My little's are growing by leaps and bounds and continue to fill up my day's with their love and endless energy.

    I think of you and send up prayers for you and your precious family...thank you for your words in this post...thank you for not forgetting about me. Sending my love, happy thoughts and big hugs your way. Until next time...XXOO

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  57. Your words are super...as are your wonderful photo shares.

    Sorry I'm so late in getting over to visit with you since you left your comment in my blog on Sunday...I've been feeling poorly with a bout of the flu. Hope your week has been treating you well, and I wanted to thank you for stopping by.

    My newest post if you care to view: REDHEADS

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  58. Fences set limits. They delineate and they protect. They confine, but also as you correctly point out allow degrees of freedom within their confines, while allowing another greater freedom outside them. I'm all for fences as long as there is door to them that will allow ingress and egress that I control...

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  59. Much to think about in your post, as always.
    And congratulations to your daughter on her university place and scholarship. We have been going through the same process here, and our daughter was also delighted to be offered her first choice university, St Andrews.
    I looked at the website of your daughter's university - it looks great. The concept of the long walks through Europe is amazingly creative - I've never heard of anything like it here.

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